For several years now I've heard the adage that marketers need to "do more with less". That is, during the "Internet boom" technology marketers enjoyed the "excesses of marketing investment", resulting in the luxury of having a sufficient number of people and significant backing for program investment; while today, as a result of significant budget cuts and reorganizations, we feel the need to maintain the same number (or more) of programs and campaigns with fewer people to support them.
Well, I think that we need to stop doing "more with less". That is, aim for quality and impact from a fewer number of marketing campaigns, programs and activities. Sun demonstrated this discipline in 2007. Sun's marketing leadership team has been driving the marketing organization to develop fewer but more effective go-to-market campaigns; reducing the number of worldwide campaigns from over 75 in the past (pre 2007), to no more than six-to-ten campaigns currently in the market. Another example of this strategy is evident at HP TSG, where CMO Deb Nelson has rallied her troops around 3-5 integrated marketing campaigns.
Challenges of stopping the cycle of doing more with less include: shifting marketing's culture to be more strategic versus tactical (not an easy feat with continued pressure from sales for short-term results); achieving marketing's buy-in and alignment with much fewer campaigns, which may result in a lack of support for some products or geographies in the interest of focus, at least in the early stages of this process; putting in place key staff and processes to improve marketing organization's efficiency and effectiveness with this new strategy (e.g., campaign management, marketing operations, sales enablement, a shared service marketing team); and collaborating with sales leads and other CMO peers for development and buy-in to this strategy.